RaveForeward Reviews... explores recent Russian history through the perspectives of its central characters, who embody the worst of the Soviet Union’s obsessions and excesses. Kalitin and Shershnev are ruthless, self-absorbed men who never once question the rightness or wrongness of their actions. Their singleminded focus prevents them from realizing what they really are: relics of a faded empire whose carefully cultivated lack of morals will prove to be their undoing. This makes the narrative intense from start to finish ... Smooth prose is used to explore their psyches, proving far more insightful than the characters themselves are. Their histories breed paranoia; pressure mounts as small details go awry during these, their most important of missions ... Intelligent and stunning, Untraceable is a character-driven thriller about the price of control.
E. Lily Yu
RaveForeword ReviewsDevastating descriptions breathe life into Nauru and its unwilling inhabitants ... Loss after loss piles on the family’s doorstep, pushing it to the breaking point. The final chapter includes enough hope to turn tears of despair into tears of happiness, its developments a relief and a blessing ... a masterful and poetic novel about finding hope and joy in the most dire circumstances.
Marco Balzano, trans by Jill Foulston
PositiveForeword Reviews... a heartbreaking historical novel about the effects of extraordinary events on ordinary people.
Gaëlle Josse, tr. Natasha Lehrer
RaveForeword ReviewsThe harsh realities of immigration are filtered through a man’s experiences in Gaëlle Josse’s novel, The Last Days of Ellis Island ... Ellis Island is as much a character as any of the people in the book. It is home to John, safe and familiar. But to the immigrants who pass through it on their way to Manhattan, it is a frightening, unpredictable gauntlet. John relays both perspectives with tender details ... The Last Days of Ellis Island is an absorbing novel in which beloved dreams are fast to shatter.
Nikolai Gogol, Trans. by Susanne Fusso
RaveForeword Reviews... no gloomy tales are these: while they deal in subjects including witchcraft, demonic influence, and madness, Gogol’s stories are as humorous as they are bizarre. They often mock those in power, especially those who allow a small amount of power to go to their head ... The book’s endnotes elaborate on cultural specifics and untranslatable jokes. This makes the book perfect for learning about Gogol’s subject cultures and time periods. Filled with unusual stories with hidden meanings, The Nose and Other Stories is filled with ill-fated characters, strange happenings, and satirical commentary.
RaveForeword ReviewsEven the book’s minor characters are crisp and unforgettable ... a glorious novel about what people choose to believe—and, more importantly, why they choose to believe it.
Marie Ndiaye, tr. Jordan Stump
RaveForeword Reviews...uncanny ... Herman’s story is compelling, inevitable, and, much like the village, easy to get lost in. That Time of Year is a hypnotic novel about the spell cast by a village on its inhabitants, willing and otherwise.
PositiveForeword ReviewsAlthough the writing style—long sentences filled with Ellinor’s innermost musings—never changes, its implications shift with Ellinor’s moods. In the beginning, it has a moody, dissociative quality. Her depression is palpable, even infectious. But as she emerges from her ennui, her rambling sentences become excited and eager, sharing her newfound engagement with the world. She takes pleasure in ordinary things that she once dismissed as worthless and trite ... Ellinor discovers the value of her own—and other people’s—existence not through grand adventures or a single epiphany, but through a hard-won change in perspective. She and her journey are all the more relatable for it ... Watching Ellinor’s numbness melt away, leaving her a better, more whole person, is a joyous and unforgettable experience ... The ordinary becomes vibrant and life affirming in Long Live the Post Horn!, an engrossing novel about how even hopeless battles are worth fighting.
Scholastique Mukasonga, Trans. by Jordan Stump
RaveForeword Reviews... stories of strength, suffering, and endurance ... Most of the speakers are very young, and their innocence underscores the horror of their situations ... These stories are intimate portraits of young people with no choice but to carry on. The heartbreaking realities of their plights are balanced by absorbing glimpses into Tutsi culture and the characters’ unquenchable senses of hope. Their resilience is inspiring, while their need to be resilient is a tragic reminder of the consequences of prejudice and unthinking hatred ... a poignant collection about the effects of trauma on tradition, community, and individuals.
Yishai Sarid, Trans by Yardenne Greenspan
PositiveForeword Reviews... dark, thoughtful ... a novel that pulls no punches in its exploration of the responsibility—and the cost—of holding vigil over the past.
PositiveForeword ReviewsGellately challenges the notion that Hitler’s charisma alone was sufficient to win public support. Rather, he offers ample evidence that Hitler’s success stemmed from his ability to tap into existing resentments, fears, and biases. He draws on a wide range of sources, including diaries, memoirs, and historical documents, to show that ordinary Germans, even non-Nazis, were swayed by the creation of social programs and the easy reclamation of lands lost in World War I. Gellately’s study is a thorough treatment of an intellectually and emotionally difficult subject, as well as a sobering reminder of people’s willingness to forget that their fellow human beings are, in fact, human. Hitler’s True Believers sheds light on one of the twentieth century’s most puzzling yet crucial questions.
RaveForeword ReviewsHeartbreaking levels of bigotry and loss are conveyed through fluid, poignant prose. Amid the tragedy, threads of loyalty, strength, and pride result in a glimmer of hope—not for a happy ending, but for human beings’ capacity to love one another through the worst crises. Devastating and impactful, The Prettiest Star captures the profound effects of the AIDS crisis, and the lies and bigotry that contributed to it